Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Does 1 + 1 Always Equal 2?

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I was asked:

*Would you say that 1 + 1 = 2 did not exist before humans discovered it?

I responded: No, but I'm not an atheist. Do you think that 1+1=2 existed before the universe came into existence?

*Joe_Agnost said...  So before humans discovered math, say 1 million years ago, an apple and another apple DIDN'T equal 2 apples??  Of course they did...

Let's consider this, under atheistic assumptions.

There is a universe. It is uncreated. It is mindless. No mind. No consciousness.  A rock rolls down a lifeless Earthscape. There is a rock now lying at the bottom of the hill. Later, another rock rolls down the hill.  There are now the original rock, and the rock that came after it.  So, 1 + 1 = 2, right?


First, the number one is a mental concept, an abstract. It does not yet exist. There is no mind to conceive of it. So, one, as a mental concept, cannot exist. Same for the number two. Abstracts cannot exist without minds to convey them. All we have at this point are rocks.

Second, 1 + 1 = 2 is an arithmetic operation. Arithmetic operations require minds to both conceive of them and perform them. Minds have not yet been "invented" by cosmic evolutionary processes.  So, 1 + 1 = 2 is an incoherent, meaningless statement. It is impossible for 1 + 1 = 2 to exist where there is no mind to instantiate it.

The theist, of course, believes that there has never been a moment in reality when Mind did not exist and 1 + 1 did not equal 2. So, the theist can confidently assert that, yes, 1 + 1 = 2 before humans "discovered math".  (Notice Agnost's word "discovered", not "invented".)  The theist can also confidently posit that 1 + 1 = 2 before this universe was created, and that 1 + 1 = 2 not only in this realized universe, but "in all possible worlds".

As I said in a previous blog, I don't think we realize what a great role the assumption of mind plays in our apprehension of reality, nor do we realize what a mind-boggling idea it is for the atheist to think that there was a time in the universe when mind was not, and things like numbers, abstracts, beauty, etc. did not exist and then came to exist as minds emerged from mindless slime.

Regain your humanity. Rebel against the atheist machine.™
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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"